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Monday, May 5, 2014

How To Actually Enjoy School

I dreadfully have to admit that I learned this lesson a little too late. I was the kind of student that absolutely hated to have to go to school for years. I would finagle with my parents. I would say countless prayers for snow. I wouldn't be surprised if I intentionally breathed more around people that were sick. Really, I hated school with every bone in my body.

This should not come as too much of a surprise but this lack of enthusiasm showed straight through to the grades I got. I wasn't one of those students that could hate school all day and score high anyway. It wasn't until I started to flip my attitude about school that my higher grades started to show up. When I got to college this improved attitude change allowed me to take twice the average course load and still score in the high end of my classes. When you learn to enjoy school, everything in school becomes easier.

Learning to enjoy school has to be a conscious change. While some students may have a natural inclination to enjoy it, you probably aren't one of those students if you're reading this.

Better Options

The first thing you need to realize to start enjoying school is not exactly a pleasant thought. When you first think about it, it can feel an awful lot like a disincentive to enjoy school. In fact, it can be a disincentive. The point of bringing it up is the development of an honest conversation about school in your own head. This point particularly true about high school.

Do you have any other option than to go to school? What would be the consequences if you didn't?

Think about that.

If you're below the age where you're allowed to drop out then you don't have much of a choice at all. If you stop showing up to school the government could metaphorically hang your parents. That is, of course, assuming your parents don't metaphorically hang you first. It's pretty safe to say you don't have much of a choice.

If you're old enough to drop out of high school, could you actually do it? Would your parents let you? Do you have a job that you could pay bills with if needed? The vast majority of students have been tucked away in school for a decade of their life and never taught any practical skills for survival. Even if they do have the practical knowledge required for survival, the ridiculous bias people have based for a high school degree is a major extra weight to deal with. Most people don't have much of a choice to drop out of high school after they're allowed to either.

College is where you actually have some options. You can go to college or not go to college. There is still a major stigma with not going to college though. Many jobs in the future will require a degree. So, you probably will end up better off if you get the degree. At times though, circumstance will dictate that a college degree is needed.

What is the point of all this?

You probably don't have a choice if you're in high school.

I know, it doesn't sound all that pleasant but it's an important point.
There are a lot of things that can't be changed in life. Things happen that you will wish didn't. There will be rainy days on your picnic. Sometimes, someone you care about is going to die. You don't have a choice. The only choice you have is how you react to them.

You can spend your whole life grieving the things you can't control or you can learn to accept them and stop letting them control your life. Many students spend their whole lives trapped on “I don't want to be here.” Now, that's probably true but if you don't have a choice it's a pointless statement. (If you do have a choice then you're just torturing yourself.)

Sure, now is a good time to grieve about having to go to school. Spend some time depressed about it but accept that you don't have the reasonable choice to make it any other way. You could have to dig through trashcan if you picked leaving school. It's okay to dismiss that as an option. It's like breaking out of a prison. Sure, you could do it but there is a very real chance you'll end up with a bullet in your backside.

Depressing right. Embrace that for a little while but like all the things you can't control, eventually you need to let it go.

Fun Requires You

After that awfully depressing first step, you should be much better off. Most students spend their lives pretending those boundaries don't exist. It can be liberating when you acknowledge them. It's the only way you'll ever be free of them. This next step is meant to take that acceptance and turn it into something you can actually enjoy.

Most students tip-toe through their education. They do everything in their power not to get in trouble. No, my advice isn't stomping through school and leaving a trail of trouble in your wake (but that may be fun.) My advice is to stop the tip-toeing.

Image Source
When most students write a paper for English class they write like they're writing something their mother would read. They avoid “dangerous” subjects that might not go over well. That leaves most English teachers bored out of their mind reading the same “and that's how I learned...” crap. Of course, this makes it miserable for the student and the teacher.

Give up on the fear you have of being too noticeable. With everything you hand in, you want to rationally take bold risks. After a little bit of practice, these bold risks will pay off. Instead of writing the perfect paper for a English teacher, write the perfect paper for yourself. It won't be long after starting that you notice you can actually enjoy yourself with this stuff.

English isn't the only subject that you can do this in though. In every subject you should be trying to inject some of your own entertainment into the subject. In history class, remember things by telling yourself crude jokes about the major people and events. Or maybe remember the dates based on the clothes they wore. I don't know. Find something that allows you to enjoy the subject (even if it is crude or barely related.)

What I'm really asking you to do is to allow your personality to participate in school. Do not go hiding behind the guise of pleasing everyone else. Just learn the information in the way you learn it best. Take every opportunity to enjoy yourself that you have.

There may always be a subject or two that doesn't quite work out as enjoyable but by practicing this daily you should be able to change the way you feel about school. Instead of it being a place for you to hide out and wait, it can become a place where you inject your personality.

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